Controversial plans to build huge block of flats in Hemel is an 'accident waiting to happen', says councillor
Hundreds of residents fear plans to build a seven-storey block of flats in their busy neighbourhood will worsen traffic congestion and road access, says Hemel councillor.
Dacorum Borough Council Development Management Committee approved planning for a block of 34 flats, as well as two houses in Eastwick Row, Adeyfield.
And residents said without the provision of a second access road, should the existing road be blocked, there would be no access to 95 houses and flats in the area.
Cllr Adrian England, who spoke at Thursday’s council meeting on behalf of residents, said: “What we have here is a scheme whose access has not been adequately or sensitively designed for the community.
"We don’t object to the housing, but because of a lack of access for the planned 40 per cent increase in households, which the council say – incredibly - will result in only nine extra cars at rush hour."
"Isn’t it perfectly obvious that a 40 per cent increase in households is going to result in a 40 per cent increase in traffic.”
Cllr England added St Nicholas Day Nursery & Pre-school, which is run by the council, "will increase" its intake worsening traffic in the area.
“As Ward Councillors, Cllr Tindall and I got involved in order to listen to the community which relies on this road. We have met in discussions with officers to ask the council to generate solutions for the pre-existing access problems," he said.
“Councillors raised awareness of the opportunity to comment at a Queen’s Square exhibition. Four access options were consulted, but the process failed despite a good attendance because, inexplicably, there was no opportunity to feedback on paper at the event.”
In response to the claims, Dacorum Borough Council said the flats were "desperately needed", and the impact on the area's traffic would be "outweighed" by the benefit of 36 new socially-rented homes.
A spokesman said: "The new homes cannot be expected to tackle existing traffic issues.
"The Council’s Housing Department in response to residents’ concerns did consult on four access options (including using the existing access) before a planning application was submitted. Hertfordshire County Council, Highways Department robustly assessed the proposal and met the Councils Housing Department on site.
"They did not consider the three alternative access’s to be safe, and also did not consider a second access to be necessary.
"Hence, the planning application proposed use of the existing access for the additional 36 homes. Hertfordshire County Council would not have supported a new access."
DBC added it was "not aware" of any plans for the nursery to increase its capacity.